By Deepa Singh, IVEP Alumni 2013-2014
I was doing my undergrad when I got the information about IVEP program through MCC staff. I was out of Kathmandu valley in the field of Nuwakot district (North to Kathmandu) doing a community health project as a part of my practical study. I had no idea what MCC meant at that time. I was given a website of MCC. I checked out the site and learnt about the works and service of MCC in Nepal. But still was not very clear about the IVEP, YAMEN program. I kept on studying the MCC websites to get the purpose of IVEP/YAMEN program.
I wrote the essay and filled out the application. But still not fully sure what I will be doing, what will happen, where I will go. Little bit of uncertainty in my head on what will happen. Anyway, I sent the application. I went through a couple interviews and got selected to do volunteer work at Women’s Bean Project in Denver, Colorado.
I had orientation at Akron, Pennsylvania, which was a different experience for me to meet friends from different countries who had come just like me to serve for a year in US. At the same time I met other friends who were ready to go to other countries to serve. We exchanged our countries’ experience and how it is like to live in our country with our friends so that it would be easy for them to start their volunteer placements. The orientation sessions helped me a lot to understand what’s going to happen next. After the orientation, all the IVEP went to their placement site. I went to Denver. I lived with other young adults who were AmeriCorps volunteers living in in a community house, which was a different and fruitful experience for me. And, my placement site was close the place where I lived. I liked that my placement site and my house was close.
The place where I worked was my unique experience because I had never worked with women who were very different than I usually know the women. Let me tell you something about my placement organization. It’s Women’s Bean Project, a social enterprise that employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women through transitional employment and helps them earn the job readiness, interpersonal and life skills to create a new future-for themselves, their families and their community.
The good part of my serving time there was getting to know their life experiences and the reasons they had come to the place to start a new life was inspiring and motivational to me as a woman. I got the opportunity to share their stories and Women’s Bean Project at different fund raising programs and other events. The fun part of my time there was living with other friends who were also of my age and getting to know their culture. Hearing their college stories reminded me of my own.
It has been slightly over 2 years for me in my home country after coming back from IVEP, US. I don’t think I can express in words how blessed and how reflective those experiences where for me in my personal, spiritual and professional life. Coming back to my country and sharing those experiences to my friends, families, MCC Nepal is enriching to me. At some times during my IVEP service I felt what I was doing was not significant but later/ by the end of the year, putting those things in perspective and looking the same things in the long run has been fully blessings to me. It was a great year to serve and learn together and draw my life closer to my goal.
Thank you MCC Nepal!!!